How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 179
Gretel came to her senses belatedly.
She obviously knew what to say in this situation.
‘I’m sorry, but I don’t think so…….’
However, when she met Fritz’s earnest gaze, she couldn’t bear to say no.
Rather, his honest confession made her heart flutter. And Gretel also decided to be honest with her own heart.
Because she herself liked this man from the first time she saw him and she has had this man on her mind for the past few months.
She realized that fact the moment she heard Fritz’s confession.
Fritz’s tense face began to darken in disappointment, as Gretel merely stared at him in silence.
“……I see. I’m sorry.”
It seemed that he interpreted Gretel’s silence as a refusal.
Gretel flinched and raised her hands.
What should I say? Actually, I like you too?
As soon as she thought ‘I like you’, it felt like it was burning from her ears to her cheeks.
Is it because I have never been in a relationship?
Gretel opened her mouth with difficulty as she looked at his light green eyes eagerly.
“Me- Me too…….”
There’s no way that such a handsome man hadn’t been in a relationship. He’s the heir to the Dukedom.
But both of us are single now, so it’s okay to date for a while.
Even if she was feeling uncomfortable with Astelle’s older brother, it was fine if it was a short-term relationship.
“Me too…… I think I have the same feelings as you do.”
Before she could finish her words, Fritz grabbed her hand.
He slowly pulled her into his arms.
The two were so close that their breath could touch.
The teddy bear she was holding in her arms softly touched her chest.
Gretel met the light green eyes that were getting closer and closer, and she lightly closed her eyes.
The first kiss was short but intense and sweet.
Even amidst her racing heart, she convinced herself, ‘Everything will be fine.’
It’s just a brief romance.
It’s just a fleeting love affair that will naturally end over time, like snow melting on its own after winter.
She really thought so then.
The work in the South has become a honeymoon between the two of them.
The two thoroughly hid their relationship from servants and workers.
It was Gretel who spoke first about keeping their relationship a secret from those around them.
She is a commoner pharmacist, but her partner is the duke and the empress’ brother.
If rumors spread about this, Fritz would suffer more than herself.
‘It’s a relationship that might not last forever, so there’s no need to take the risk.’
When she brought it up, Fritz stared at her as deep as a dark lake and accepted.
“Fine. Let’s keep our relationship a secret from everyone.”
He kept his promise.
The people in the mountains seemed to have noticed the relationship between the two at first glance.
However, no one whispered or gave strange glances to Gretel.
No one mentioned or implied their relationship.
Perhaps Fritz had kept them quiet to some extent.
Even after coming to the capital, the two often met while avoiding public attention.
Still, after coming to the capital, the number of times they met gradually decreased.
Fritz had to work hard every day, completing work that had been delayed due to his long stay in the mountains.
Gretel was also busy with work at the herbal school, so the two couldn’t meet as often as before.
They only had time to see each other’s faces occasionally.
But lately, Gretel had been avoiding going out with him because of mounting fatigue.
Nevertheless, Fritz became a faithful and affectionate lover to Gretel whenever he had time. Like spending time with her amidst his busy schedule, and sometimes bringing her gifts.
Gretel also liked meeting him.
She liked Fritz’s gentle personality and his friendly and meticulous consideration.
Gretel grew to like him more and more.
Of course, everything was done quietly and out of sight.
A relationship that seemed to be ending soon turned into a happy secret love affair.
At this point, Gretel felt perplexed.
‘What if I get caught?’
It can’t be kept a secret forever.
At this rate, rumors would eventually spread considering Fritz’s status.
Wouldn’t Astelle be shocked if she found out?
‘What if she hates it deep down?’
Astelle, of course, wants Fritz to marry a bride of a good family.
Most likely she would want her brother to marry a noble lady considering he is the head of a prestigious family, a duke.
Around the time of those anxious thoughts, Gretel received Astelle’s invitation.
“Gretel, would you like to go to the summer palace?”
The moment Gretel heard that, she thought of Fritz, who was working day and night.
“Is the Duke going too?”
It was an impromptu question that reminded her of Fritz, who is under a heavy workload every day.
When Theor heard that, he begged Astelle to take Fritz along as well.
Thanks to that, Fritz joined the group.
Gretel was worried that it might arouse suspicion.
‘What if she doubts my relationship with the duke?’
Fortunately, however, Astelle didn’t seem to find it strange that Gretel mentioned Fritz.
Astelle was busy with preparations for the masquerade ball and trying to calm the Emperor, who was worried because of her pregnancy.
Thanks to that, she didn’t have time to think about Gretel’s words in detail.
The trip to the summer palace was good.
At least it was fine until she departed.
Gretel was looking forward to the long-awaited relaxing vacation.
When she saw the peaceful and beautiful scenery outside the capital, her spirits were lifted and her fatigue was relieved.
But as she felt better, her body grew more and more languid.
From her first day of departure from the capital, Gretel felt strangely drowsiness pouring over her.
Whether she was talking, walking, or even eating, her drowsiness came over her.
‘What’s wrong with me?’
She did some tests because she thought she might have a disease.
However, there was no response to any tests.
After she realized something was off with her body, she noticed a few other minor symptoms as well.
Gretel, who had been reviewing her own body condition in detail, found a reason for her suspicion.
Having seen many pregnant women, Gretel knew that it was a symptom of pregnancy.
Just in case, she dis a test with the medicine she always carried with her.
And the results did not deviate from her expectations.
She slumped in her seat, peering at the test reagent in the locked room.
From the first day she met Fritz, Gretel took the pills every day.
Working as a pharmacist, she had seen countless couples experience unexpected accidents, so she prepared more thoroughly.
Of course, there are times when contraception fails no matter how thoroughly you take your medication. Theor was the proof.
However, she is a pharmacist, this is his area of expertise. She couldn’t believe she made such a mistake…….
Hopelessness and anxiety came over her. She was even worried about how to say this.
With her body becoming more and more lethargic, it was now normal for her to fall asleep sitting up.
So that’s it, Gretel slept all day in the summer palace.
“Aunt Gretel, are you sick?” asked Theor who approached the head of the bed and grabbed the blanket with his pretty little hands.
“Ah, no, Your Highness. I’m not sick, just…… I’m sleepy.”
Astelle who came with Theor asked her worriedly, “If you’re not feeling well, why not call a doctor?”
At the word ‘doctor’, Gretel hurriedly dissuaded Astelle.
“No! I, I’m fine. I’ve already done a test. I don’t think it’s a disease.”
“Well, I guess I’ve been overworked myself. This symptom can also occur when fatigue builds up. It’s true, so don’t worry!”
Gretel’s enthusiastic explanation left Astelle no choice but to agree.
“If you still don’t feel well, at least make medicine to treat your body. I will be by your side to help you make it. I will tell the doctor to bring the ingredients for the medicinal ingredients needed.”
Astelle’s undeserved kindness made her heart ache.
Astelle said with a sincere smile, “No worries. Gretel is my benefactor and His Majesty’s savior, so it’s only natural.”
She felt guilty for cheating on the kind Astelle like this.
But she wasn’t in a position to tell the truth now.
‘I have to tell Fritz about this first.’
How can I tell him? How upset would he be?
Fritz is the only duke in the empire, how could he have a child with a commoner pharmacist.
Once again, she realized how absurd this was. The more she thought about it, the more she felt this was absurd.
‘But I can’t run away from this situation.’
Astelle did just that though. That’s because His Majesty didn’t want her and Theor. But Gretel herself was in a different situation.
‘Fritz probably doesn’t hate it that much.’
Given his personality, he might say he will take responsibility.
As she pondered what to say to Fritz, she naturally avoided him.
He visited the infirmary morning and evening, but the conversation between them was brief because Gretel said she was tired.
“Are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, I’m fine now.”
She was sitting up when Fritz came to her.
After checking Gretel’s condition, he carefully said, “There is a monastery near the lake, and the scenery is very nice. I’d like to show it to you too. If you don’t mind, let’s go together.”
As Gretel blinked at the unexpected suggestion, Fritz smiled slightly and continued, “Actually, I saw herbs there yesterday. I think you might be interested.”
She hadn’t been able to go out since she came here, so she didn’t even know there was such a place.
Gretel looked at Fritz and nodded.
“Yes, good. Then let’s go together.”
Anyway, I have to tell him one day.
I had calmed down a bit now after being indoors for a few days, so I think it would be better to go outside and take the opportunity to tell him.
That evening the two of them left the castle and headed for a monastery in the woods near the lake.
The monastery is a small building standing quietly in the background of a grove.
The building itself is old and unattractive, but the surrounding scenery encompassing the forest and lake created a romantic landscape.
As Fritz said, there are plants that can be used as medicinal herbs.
“There are a lot of unique things.”
Gretel suddenly wondered when she heard Fritz’s answer. She asked, “How did you find out?”
How do you tell herbs apart when you’ve never learned about them?
“I learned a lot while staying with you.”
“But I never taught you…….”
When Gretel made a puzzled expression, Fritz gave an honest answer, smiling, “Actually, I read some herbal books.”
“Herbal book……. why?”
“Because I was interested in you, Miss Gretel,” he answered, walking to the shore of the lake.
Gretel noticed that Fritz studied herbs in order to talk to her.
She was grateful for his kindness and thoroughness, and she was a bit sorry.
Because she didn’t know anything about what he was doing.
‘I’m a bad lover.’
Gretel walked along the shore of the lake and gathered herbs while glancing at Fritz from time to time.
‘When is a good time to tell him?’
The sun began to set when they were halfway around the lakeside.
Gretel couldn’t wait any longer.
Fritz who was in the lead turned when he heard Gretel.
“I have something to tell you.”